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What Does it Mean to “Shop the Warehouse?”

We often talk about “shopping the warehouse.” What does that mean? The first step in Furnish with Love's design process is meeting the family in their new home. A FWL volunteer from our project team and the volunteer designer talk with family members about needs and dreams, get a sense of favorite colors and styles, and take measurements to make a design plan.

Then the designer schedules a time to "shop the warehouse." Throughout the year, Furnish with Love gathers donated furnishings from individuals, stores, and showrooms. In at any given time in our warehouse, we may have a row of 12 coffee tables, 20 kitchen chairs of every style, a room full of linens, and stacks of art and mirrors. When a designer arrives, we provide items needed to identify and flag pieces that may work for their home project – before photos, floor plans, a furniture needs list, and project tags.

Now the fun begins – designers wander and tag. Find a headboard that inspires the design of the parents’ bedroom? Tag it! Discover a rug with colors that perfectly complement a pair of curtain panels found in the linen room? Tag both! As a designer selects items, the list of furnishing needs grows shorter and shorter. Items that we don’t have on hand go on a “hunt” list.

After the designer has found all possible goodies in our warehouse that can be used in their project, tagged items are moved into a staging zone. As we find items to complete the list -- by shopping thrift stores, requesting donations, or making a Target run -- they are added to the pile until an entire apartment’s furnishings are ready to be packed, moved, and installed.

Furnish with Love is able to keep costs down and make each project unique by offering a warehouse full of furnishing options to our volunteer designers. Thank you to all our wonderful furnishing donors who keep Furnish with Love in business. We look forward to “shopping the warehouse” with you soon.

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